Friday, February 11, 2011
The idea for the festival was first proposed in 1967, in celebration of Canada's centennial. However, due to a lack of sufficient funding from the city council, the proposal was not acted upon. In the summer of 1969, the mayor, Ed Turner, and the city council of Saint-Boniface granted their support under the condition that the Festival became an incorporated organization. Judge Robert Trudel became the first president of Festival du/ of the Voyageur. Festival du/of the Voyageur Inc. was Incorporated under the Companies Act of Manitoba on December 18th, 1969. It received a city grant of $35,000 but had to give back all profits up to the $35,000.
Over the years, more additions were made to the festival. The symbol of a red toque (stocking cap) and a pair of boots was adopted in 1973, after a winning snow sculpture from the year before. Two "school" voyageurs were appointed in 1977, to visit schools and teach children about the voyageurs and the Festival.
In 1978, the organization had accumulated enough surplus funds to make Whittier Park the permanent site of the festival. Provencher Park had become too small for the growing number of attendees. Log cabins were constructed in Whittier Park that could be left there year-round. These cabins formed the foundations of the historic reconstruction that became as Fort Gibraltar.